After the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that the Commerce Department had not given a sufficient explanation for a Census citizenship question, there still was a possibility that the Trump administration could pursue a new explanation. After all, the question itself was held substantively lawful, it was the process that was the problem.

We covered the possibilities for a do-over in Chief Justice Roberts shot down Census citizenship question, but it’s not dead yet.

But the timing was tough because printing the Census is a monumental undertaking. The government had argued, in urging the Supreme Court to expedite the case, that the printing could not wait much beyond the end of the Supreme Court term in June.

The theoretical what-if not longer is what-if. Or so it seems.

The Census is going to print without the question, via NBC News:

The Trump administration will move forward with printing the 2020 census without a controversial citizenship question, a Department of Justice spokesperson said Tuesday….

A Justice Department trial attorney sent an email to an opposing counsel in the citizenship case, saying “the decision has been made to print the 2020 Decennial Census questionnaire without a citizenship question, and that the printer has been instructed to begin the printing process,” according to a copy of the email posted online by one of the attorneys involved….

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed in a statement Tuesday that the Census Bureau has started printing the decennial questionnaires without the question. He said he “strongly” disagreed with the court’s ruling on his decision to reinstate the question, adding, “My focus, and that of the Bureau and the entire Department is to conduct a complete and accurate census.”

But is it over-over? Justin Miller at The Daily Beast reports:

DOJ would not tell me if the administration has given up the citizenship question, only saying forms will begin printing without it (Monday was the deadline)

Joshua Matz, a lawyer and obvious opponent of the question, writes:

Of course, plaintiffs & courts should not accept any representation from the government as conclusive unless DOJ unequivocally represents that a question about citizenship will not appear on *any* form, or in *any* manner, in *any* document relating to the 2020 Decennial Census

My sense is it’s over-over. Another victory for the swing Justice, Chief John Roberts.

A perfectly legitimate and substantively lawful question, which would help us better understand who is in the country, will not happen.

Ignorance is bliss. Knowledge apparently is not good.


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